Whisky: What’s in an age?
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Tommy Isaksson is our charismatic Brand Ambassador in Sweden. Today he shares insights into what it’s like to talk whisky for a living.
Tommy Isaksson is our charismatic Brand Ambassador in Sweden. He travels the country telling the story of the Maritime Malt but has taken time out of his busy schedule to share some insights into what it’s like to share drams of the finest single malt whisky… for a living.
1. How long have you worked as Old Pulteney’s Brand Ambassador in Sweden?
I started at the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival in 2011 so I will celebrate my 4th year in September. I came from the trade and worked as a manager at 4 different restaurants in Uppsala, Sweden. The most fun part of having over 100 employees was to educate the staff on food and beverage and have tastings for guests at the restaurant. The first time I worked for Old Pulteney in Stockholm I knew that this is right for me. I really enjoyed working in the stand talking about the brand history and heritage. What I loved the most in my former job I do full time today so I´m probably the luckiest man in Sweden!
2. What does a day in your shoes look like?
Every day is different so it’s a tricky question. This year has been great with lots of different activities. To mention a few, Margaret Mary (Old Pulteny’s Senior Brand Mangaer) and I hosted the biggest whisky magazine in Sweden, Allt Om Whisky. Swedish Old Pulteney fans got the opportunity to win a whisky scholarship and a trip over to Wick. We got a huge number of applications and the two delighted winners had their whisky journey of a lifetime.
Sweden is famous for all the whisky clubs, there is at least one big whisky club in every town or city and I love hosting them all around Sweden. Last year I had Old Pulteney masterclasses for 2000+ fans. I tried to take a selfie with everyone but I´m a better whisky ambassador than photographer. Often I try to host whisky clubs, restaurants and sailing clubs when I´m at festivals. I do a couple of stops on my way to destinations. Sweden is a long country so planning is the key. Festivals are really booming in Sweden now so I try to attend as many as I can.
This year I have done 5 big festivals with Old Pulteney in Linköping, Uppsala, Malmoe, Gothenburg and Sundsvall. Now when summer finally is here I will be hosting at boat shows and sailing events ntoo. In May I was in Marstrand on the West Coast and had speed tastings with Old Pulteney 12 Year Old, Old Pulteney Navigator, the 17 Year Old and the 21 Year Old. Over 100 sailors/guests got to try our lovely Maritime Malt in the Shanti Shanti restaurant located right by the harbor of Marstrand. I say it again, I´m the luckiest man in Sweden.
3. Where is your favourite place to enjoy a dram Old Pulteney?
I´ve mentioned Shanti Shanti in Marstrand just outside Gothenburg. Couple of weeks ago I had a fantastic Old Pulteney moment! I was sitting in the outdoor part of the restaurant looking over the sea having an Old Pulteney 12 Year Old, a sea salt chocolate truffle and a double espresso. Indescribable enjoyment!
Göstas fisk is another favorite of mine. This is a seafood restaurant in Smögen serving one of the best seafood in the Nordics. Last time I had a shellfish plateau and finished a great dinner with 12 Year Old.
In Stockholm I have many favorites but I have to pay tribute to Akkurat in the southern part of Stockholm. They have an enormous whisky collection and the owner Mikael is one of the most knowledgeable whisky experts in Sweden. You can just sit there, enjoy a dram of Old Pulteney and look at their whisky shelf for hours. They are also famous for their mussels and you can get whisky cooked mussels which is great!
In Stockholm´s shopping district I have another favorite where you can have an after-shopping dram at Grodan restaurant. This is a high-end bar that have spectacular interior customized for enjoying a dram of Old Pulteney.
In my hometown Uppsala I have two fantastic pubs. O´Connors is an old Irish pub, they love Old Pulteney and they have really nice food too. My next door neighbor, The Churchill Arms is a new pub. Always crowded, the staff is amazing and they speak English so I can dream away overseas while enjoying my Old Pulteney.
4. What is your favourite Old Pulteney expression?
I´m a whisky of the moment kind a guy. The 12 Year Old is my go-to whisky and I if I want to impress guests or friends at home I always offer that. It´s so smooth and suits both the whisky rookies and the experts.
If you ask me today I would say Old Pulteney 17 Year Old because of the wonderful weather in Sweden. As soon as the temperature rises and the sun comes out I prefer more ex-bourbon matured whisky. The lovely vanilla notes combined with green apples, little zesty, tropical notes and sea salt. That’s my absolute perfect dram in my backyard on a sunny afternoon.
Please come back to me with the same question in November. It´s dark when I go to work and dark when I come home. Maybe it’s a little to logical but this happens every year. I move towards Old Pulteney 21 Year Old and even some peaty whisky. I prefer a bigger and more warming whisky, the red amber color from the ex-Oloroso casks really appeals to me and one the palate I love the dried fruits, baked red apples and the long warming finish. Last winter I sat in my sofa watching a football game and poured a dram of Old Pulteney 1990 and I can say… Old Pulteney 21YO now has a competitor during the cold months in Sweden.
5. If you could share a dram of that expression with anyone past or present who would it be?
I have two big passions in life, whisky and football so it´s easy. I will probably leave Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne outside on this offer even if I loved him as a player. But Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrik Larsson in my backyard sharing a dram of Old Pulteney 17 Year Old? Definitely. The best Swedish players of all time. We would discuss whisky and Zlatan´s book and I would need Henrik to calm Zlatan down when we talked about Pep Guardiola and Freddie Ljungberg. As you can see I already dreamt about this. Haha.
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